It is now ” Mid Season” and I have had a new experience taking in my son’s first season with the US Chess League and the Arizona Scorpions. The US Chess League was a goal to strive for, especially since some of David’s friends in other cities participated in an occasional game. As David’s play has improved, it seemed that there was a possibility for him to contribute perhaps as an alternate. With so many chess players hoping to be on the team, it was very uncertain if he would make the roster even as an alternate. When I spoke to Leo Martinez, AZ Scorpions Manager, he told me that there was a good possibility that he could make the roster. Later , the prospects seem to wax and wane as Leo and Robby Adamson were performing various rating calculations and whether David’s coach would be available to play on the team. When the Scorpions added GM Alejandro Ramirez and the possibility of two more GMs might move to Arizona, it seemed that it would not work out for the 2009 season. Yet , the higher ratings of these players opened the door for David to make the team as his lower rating would apparently balance the lineup.
Chess- High Hopes, Low Expectations, No Guarantees
The season started with excitement of participating in an entirely new experience. It is very special to be on a team with so many great people that David admires, respects, and have taught him so much. David has not had much experience with team chess events, as his school has rarely fielded a full team in the National scholastic events.
We had hoped that David would benefit from the experience with competitive games without traveling. Even though these games are not rated, it would be valuable practice and training. Leo informed us that the first two matches would be in Tucson with David participating with the Tucson lineup, and some hesitation arose. My wife questioned whether David could afford to miss part of school, and whether I could miss any part of work to drive to Tucson, play a late game, and make it back for him to be rested enough to function in school the next day. Given the fact that airline travel is far more difficult and expensive, and since David and I are both comfortable with time pressure, the natural response was, “we are all in.” (Thanks to Poker Stars.Net for all of there support)
The season thus far has exceeded my expectations. David has played in 4 matches thus far, and has been able to participate as a spectator at the Abstrax team site for one other match. The support and encouragement of the Arizona chess community is awesome, and it is hard to believe that there were 82 people watching the match. The sites at the University of Arizona in Tucson as well as the Phoenix Abstrax site have been great, with separate rooms for spectators to view and analyze the games as they are being played.
The fear of mine was that David’s performance could drag the team’s overall performance but fortunately the opposite has occurred so far.
David has two draws and two exciting wins with three of the games with black pieces. David’s win against the 2008 Board 4 All Star was an exciting game and received second place in the Game of the Week voting. It was a beautifully played game , and it was fun for David and myself that so many chess enthusiasts and judges enjoyed and appreciated the game. Some judges and GMs thought the game was ” overrated ” and “nothing I havn’t seen or played before.” David was indifferent to those comments , and was glad that GM Kacheishvili won the prize because he thought GM Giorgi’s game was a special novelty, and his humility is what makes this chess Dad so proud!
As I wrap up this midseason report, I hope that the Scorpions can gain momentum leading towards a possible playoff run. Go Scorpions, and watch out for “The Baby Scorpion.”
Dan Adelberg, Chess Dad